Southwick-Tolland-Granville school project goes to vote

SOUTHWICK – The Southwick-Tolland Regional School Committee last night approved an article for the Special Town Meeting Jan. 10 asking voters to borrow nearly $72 million by debt exclusion.
The funds are for renovations to Woodland Elementary School, Powder Mill Middle School and Southwick-Tolland Regional High School. The Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) is set to reimburse up to 65 percent of project costs. The MSBA is allowing all three schools to be considered as one project because the town of Granville has joined the regional school system.
Superintendent John Barry said the article must be approved by all three towns at separate meetings, the approved again by ballot at a special election in all towns slated for Jan. 31. Barry said if one town does not approve the measure at town meeting, there is another option for it to pass.
“I spoke with our legal counsel and if it fails in one town, we have another option, which is a three-town meeting where it can pass by majority vote,” said Barry.
Barry said he believes having the three towns vote separately is the “healthier option” and he believes it will pass.
When asked who wrote the lengthy article, Barry said he did.
“I wrote the first draft, which then went to our attorney and the MSBA, and both made changes,” said Barry. “We are also working with bond counsel and they have seen this too.”
Barry was also asked why the article asks the voters to approve borrowing the entire cost of the project.
“You have to borrow the whole thing, but the language of the article speaks to the grant reimbursement rate,” said Barry.
Informational meetings on the project and article are set for tomorrow in Tolland, Dec, 12 in Southwick, and Dec. 21 in Granville.

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